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Mel Novak

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Mel Novak (page 2)

Your website and our earlier correspondance show that you are a deeply religious man and an ordained minister. How did this vocation came to you ? What kind of influence did it have on your acting career, and vice-versa ?

In my acting roles, I play villains, who get their just due in the God's justice. However I will NOT play a role where I would rape a woman, molest a child, do nudity, kiss a man, or use God's name in vain. I don't do it in life & after 10 throat surgies , not dying, I will not do it. So, it narrows the chances to do roles , but my real calling is what I'm doing, a ministry where people are broken & wounded,. In the Skid Row of LA ,you have thousands of homeless , drug addicts, alcoholics, & mentally disturbed people, where 66% have AIDs, hepititis, & T.B.. 7 out of 8 prostitutes have AIDs. There is a great deal of murder.On Easter, I will have been ministering there for 24 years. I preach sermons at the chapel services to encourage, edify, uplift & point them to the cross of Calvary( John 3:16; John1:1-3). It has nothing to do with "religion or denominations", but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is simple faith, walking from one kingdom ( of darkness to a kingdon of light )to another. I have myriads of testimonies of people who were snatched from the jaws of hell & are healed ,delivered & set free by Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 61:1). People could check out my website at & see the marvelous testimonies. Unfortunately, the persentage is small, but I keep on, in His strength. I average 22 services a month. The fact that I've played mostly villain roles has drawn thousands to hear me in the penitentiaries that normally do not go to chapel services. I give out an Arsenal Prayer ( over 51,000 so far )that prayerfully dresses you for the war against the devil ( 2Corinthians 10:3-5). I also give out a flyer with my testimony & pix from movies that draws multitudes. I have to sign a paper that if I am taken hostage , no deals will be made. They call me " machine Gun " in the prisons because I back up everything I say with God's Word.

"They call me " machine Gun " in the prisons because I back up everything I say with God's Word. "

What is your exact status as an ordained minister? You apparently work "without paycheck" in skid row, prisons and mental hospitals, does that mean that you make a living with your acting work alone, or do you have other paid ministerial activities? Could you elaborate about your work in mental wards, and with the homeless?

Yes, I am an ordained minister, but do not have a church building. My church is the Skid Row & prisons ( I've preached in 12 different states, Ireland, & Mexico prisons ) See Matthew 25:34-40. No, there is no paycheck. I send out a monthly newsletter every month & there are some faithful people who make contributions & believe in what I do. My non profit corporation owes Mel Novak $50,763.09 since 1993 as of January 2006. When I am a guest speaker, I get an offering, & generally, on a 2 week prison ministry trip, I'll minister at churches to take care of expenses. I made a lot of money from 1987 thru 1991 & wisely invested it so it all works out well for me. The monthly checks help & God provides & promises to take care of my needs, NOT my greeds. (Philippians 4:19)He does ! Faith is an amazing thing. It is trust. ( Nahum 1:7; Psalm 91:2 ) I have almost died 4 times, & the last 2 times I said " Lord, I'm just going to trust You." I have had amazing miracles that doctors could not explain. I trusted & did not doubt. I have lived with brutal pain for over a third of my life, EXCEPT when I preach a sermon. They want to do surgery in 4 parts of my body, but I've already had 21 surgeries. I'm praying for miracles. I can tell you one thing, pain keeps you humble. There are times when I see women & their children at a Skid Row mission, or see someone OD on drugs & die, the " tough guy from Hollywood " weeps. I get many letters from prison inmates that said if it were not for me & the hope I brought them thru Christ that they would be dead. At the Los Angeles County Jail ( officially the worst jail in our country )I counsel inmates who desire to talk to a chaplain, & do an hour church service three times a month.In almost 24 years, over 57,000 have invited Jesus Christ into their hearts as Lord & Savior or rededicated . (1 John 1:9 )It was God who drew them. (John 6:44 )My home church is The Church On The Way, an interdenominational fellowship in association with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

"I've preached in 12 different states, Ireland, & Mexico prisons"

The mental wards are difficult. There is one in most all of he prisons I go to, & the devil is at work in these places. I've been attacked on Skid Row by demon possessed people, & only the power " in the name of Jesus " saved me from harm.( Philippines 2: 9-11; Matthew 18:19 ) Some of the people I took to Skid Row with me never went back. It is not for everyone.The mind is satan's playground, but the Christian life in not a playground, but battleground. (Ephesians 6:10-17) Yes, I get flak from some Christians, usually from someone who does not serve the Lord ( Matthew 20:28 ).

You acted in some films which contained violence and/or supernatural themes, like vampires or demonic possessions. You also played some very evil characters. How do your beliefs influence your choosing of a role, if at all ?

These roles opened up areas of ministry that never would have happened. God knows what He is doing. I've gone thru brokenness, pain, suffering ,& heartache , spending a third of my life in the furnace of affliction ( Isaiah 48:10 ), but God was training me for this ministry. Yes, I played hitmen, assassins, psychos, demon possessed, & a vampire, but I always got it in the end. I take my Bible on the set & will not compromise my position in Christ. Many times I got a role where God used me to help someone, & to be honest, I don't care what they say. I need God's approval, not man's. ( Acts 5:29) In "Sword of Heaven", they looked at every heavy in Hollywood, & finally me. They liked my work in other films & offered me the role. I told the producer, Joseph Randazzo that I will take it if I can take all the God's name in vain out, along with the F's & MF's. He said "wait, you will kill 7 people but won't take this lead role unless I OK your request? " I said ," correct". He did & later on in the pix he asked me to pray for his mom which I did. I led the waredrobe gal to Christ who was almost having a breakdown & one Sunday, when I was a guest speaker at a church, 16 cast & crew came to hear me. It blew them away. They saw the real Mel, not a villain actor.

During the later part of your career, you worked almost exclusively with Cine Excel Entertainment and the company's producer David Huey (or David Hue). How did you start working with them?

In 2002, my manager wanted me to go to read for a Michael Douglas movie, & I was on my way to Skid Row. I said," how big is the role?" He said" 2 lines." I said " Iwon't do 2 lines for my grandmother & she's in her grave." He said,"we are not on the same page" & the Holy Spirit in me said leave & I said "I'll be down tomorrow for my pix etc. & wish to leave the agency."In the next 4 years I did 4 starring roles for David Huey of Cine Excel Entertainment. A few years before, David hired me for a co-star role in " Capital Punishment " Gary Daniels was easy to work with , & is excellent in his fight skills. David Carradine is always a wonderful performer. I liked working with them, & David Huey said he had some ideas to workwith me in several projects...all different characters.

Future War by Cine Excel (where you had a very short cameo as an policeman) had the somewhat dubious honor to be the most recent film featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000 TV show, how do you feel about this ?

David Huey knew I was ticked about Future War . He hired a special effects guy to direct because he could do the fake dinosaurs.He did not have a clue. I had a 5 day window to shoot which David agreed to because I was going on a 2 week ministry trip with a confirmed flight. The director screwed around wasting time & I called David who was in Florida, telling him that this director is making a disaster, that there is no way he can get all my scenes in. He said " I'll make it up to you ." I said I don't want any credit , as this is embarrasing. Well, my name was not deleted, & I'm still embarrased. It was the first & only time in my career that I started to go after someone & thankfully Bill Clifford stopped me saying ," Mel, he's not worth it "This pix deserved to be on that Science Theatre 3000.

Cine Excel usually credits you as a "guest star", in movies in which you only make cameos (Future War), but also when you play major roles (Vampire Assassin). Is there a specific reason for that? Some films like SWAT : Warhead One and Power Elite for example were apparently shot roughly at the same time for some reason. How do these shooting conditions affect your work ?

Mel in "giAnts"

David signed me to a multi pix deal that worked around my ministry schedule. The roles were very good & the billing was excellent. Not much $. Yes, they were low budget so I got 2 out of 3. Yes, we shot " Power Elite " & " SWAT : Warhead One " at the same time with Olivier Gruner & 6 other actors. It was a good move on David's part ,& he saved money. Olivier & I had many, many scenes together & we worked very well together. We talked about doing another film together but it never happened. I call him 2 times ( never 3 ),but did not get a return. That's how it is in Hollywood. Rarely do people maintain a friendship. I have with David Huey & consider him a friend, a term I do not use loosely.

How much time does it take to shoot an average Cine Excel film?" The company's films seem relatively hard to buy, even on Do you know how they are being distributed?

David's shooting schedule usually is 4 to 5 weeks . Sometimes it is difficult but even though I had tons of dialog, I handled it & was always on time & prepared. I think David Huey is very talented, & could direct a big budget film. He does amazing things with low budgets films. I came close to getting $ 5 Million for a pix & was going to have him direct me. He gets his distribution at film festivals and markets. As I write, David is in Las Vegas at some film festival.

"I think David Huey is very talented, & could direct a big budget film. He does amazing things with low budgets films."

Chinese-filipino producer K.Y. Lim was an associate of Cine Excel at some point : have you met this person and does he still work with them?

No, I do not know K.Y. Lim, even though he was credited as an executive producer on "Capital Punishment".

Cine Excel also relies quite a lot on special effects, despite the obvious lack of funds.

Yes, there are a great deal of special effects on David's films. There is one we finished last October ( my last pix in the 4 pix deal ) called " giANTS " & has some really good special effects, especially the ants. David directed it and is in the process of getting a distribution deal. He is going to Cannes film festival with it. I had to do a lot of acting with the green background that was supposed to be a giant ant. I had no trouble. Focus & do it.

One specific question about SWAT : Warhead One. Your character seems oddly well-informed about quite everything and keeps explaining the plot to Olivier Gruner. One has the impression that some of your dialogue was written in order to cover several plot holes. Did you also have this impression?

Mel with Olivier Gruner in "Swat : Warhead One".

Yes, there was some rewriting on SWAT : Warhead One, as there are on many films. Yes, my voiceover in Swat was written to cover some plot holes. You just do the best that you can with what you are given.

Any comments about the film Vampire Assassin and its director/star Ron Hall?

Ron is a really good man, & very talented , especially as a writer. He has some excellent projects, & because " Vampire Assassain" made over $ 2 Million on video rentals for Lion?s Gate, he has several suitors to direct scripts he wrote. Ron is also loyal. In the 3 projects he is slated to do, I have a very good role in each one. Ron is the one who called me to play the lead in " Vampire."He asked if I could do this pix in his first directing gig. I worked with him in several pix where he was the stunt co-cordinator & he was excellent in his work. A first time director in a VERY low budget film could be a disaster, but I did it because of the man & his passion. Ron had to produce, cast, direct, act, co-ordinate the fights, do his fights, write & rewrite, get locations, & clean up after we ate. For the life of me, I'll never understand how he did it all. It was amazing. When he went to the Orient to do another film, an editor in NY was used to cut the film, & a major portion of the beginning was cut that would have explained everything. Even though it was a miracle Ron got what he did, it could have been better. Ron vowes to do his own cut, & wants to do a sequel. I believe he will make it big one day & I'm glad I said yes to him. As this was a Cine Excel co production, it was my 4th pix. Why, because I am in full time ministry & these pix kept me sharp in the acting part of my life. I passed on "Magma", because of a director that was like Future War, & David fired him before filming started.

What are your current projects and activities?

I just finished a Senior Softball movie called " Big Guns "with Barry Primus, an excellent New York actor who worked with Newman & Mel Gibson, & directed DeNiro. I'm waiting to hear from the producer who is supposed to do "Bring Her Back Alive" in France. There are 3 other films that I'm cast in but they do not have their money in place. That's Hollywood.

Thank you very much for your time, Mr Novak!

Lord bless you.

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